There are many thriving groups of chatters using Slack as a host for their community — you just need to know how to find them. Also, to an extent you need to know in advance which ones are worth joining. Most people don’t know the membership numbers until they join — and even if you do know the numbers in advance you really have no idea how active or useful the community is until you actually have a chance to use it.
The Qualities of a Good Slack Community
To make things even more difficult, Slack is still relatively new and not many people even understand what sets Slack apart from other forums and communication platforms. This also leads to a bit of confusion on the part of some community members who just aren’t sure what they’re doing and miss half the conversations. Because of this, the communities with active and helpful moderators are definitely the best for new users to join.
It’s also good to join Slack groups that are organized enough to run a Twitter account, mailing list and other associated tools to keep the information flowing so members stay back. In the early days of a community, with only inexperienced Slack users in the group, it’s quite easy for a Slack group to become inactive. Decent moderators and systems are essential.
Which Are the Best Slack Chat Rooms?
A great community is much more than a number. That said, numbers really help in live-chat situations, which is what Slack is based on. If there’s no one online at the same time as you, you’re basically talking to tumbleweeds.
Another thing to consider is that many of these Slack chat rooms ask for a paid donation to join. This usually keeps out spammers and helps them to fund a mailing list and other tools to keep the group functioning. If this bothers you, move on and find a new group. Although, the three biggest groups I’m about to mention are indeed paid.
I’m a member of 20 Slack teams, and I promise these are the best. Follow the links to join — you’ll need to give your email address so they can invite you.
Nomads was the first big public Slack community, with Pieter Levels doing a fantastic marketing job when it began. With 3600 people in it currently, it’s really the go-to place for digital nomads worldwide. There’s a channel for just about every country and a continuous stream of people asking for suggestions in relation to accommodation, entertainment and co-working spaces in all the big cities.
You can easily see how this sort of information and networking power can quickly benefit someone who is arriving in a new city. That’s why it’s such a thriving community.
With 2500 members, the Startup Foundation is a goldmine for entrepreneurs. Everyone’s getting excited about each other’s projects, sharing and helping other members to promote their businesses. It’s really supportive and quite inspiring to be a part of this group.
Boasting 1700 tech journalists and coders from London and surrounds, this #TechLondon group is all about building the London tech scene. Founders discuss growth hacking while real-life meetups are arranged in other channels.
If you love SEO and digital marketing, this Online Geniuses community of 1400 professionals is like some sort of dream come true. Tips, tricks, advice and camaraderie. What more could you want?
Everyone loves music, and this 560-people-strong #Music Slack group is a tribute to every genre on earth. There are some incredibly active members sharing fantastic new finds and tracks that they’ve made themselves. It’s music discovery heaven.
The #Freelance Slack community has 500 freelancers, who are all chatting about tools and tricks they use to make it as a freelancer. Lots of great tips and ideas come out of this group, so take a look.
Technical.ly is a tech-focused community for geeks everywhere. Although it’s very inclusive when it comes to location, there are channels for various American cities to help local community members meet in person.
Creative Tribes is a slightly meta community of 330 community managers all sharing tips on how to grow their communities. It’s very active and full of fantastic tips, no matter what sort of community you are building.
Can Slack Be Used for Collaboration and Learning?
Slack was designed with collaboration in mind, so it’s perfect for collaborative projects. As most of these communities are sticking to the free plan they use a blog, or wiki to curate the best material from the Slack chats and keep a record for future use.
For learning, it’s an ideal way to get instant answers to your questions and to find people to collaborate with on projects that will help you learn. The WeLearnJS group is full of people asking for a little help and coming up with new projects. Get involved!
What Can You Learn in Slack Communities?
Many of these communities revolve around a particular career path or lifestyle choice. Mostly, people are learning about how they can best do their jobs with whatever their current situation is. They’re also networking to meet other like-minded people who they can professionally connect to.
Where Can You Find The Best Public Slack Chat Rooms?
If the Slack communities I’ve mentioned don’t suit your tastes, don’t worry! There are thousands of good Slack groups out there. Check out ChitChats.co, SlackList.info and r/SlackHangouts/ to get your fix. The occasional Slack community makes it on to ProductHunt and Betalist too, which tends to make them big hits quickly.
On Twitter, search for #Slack and around all the glowing news reports you’ll see an occasional tweet informing you of a new community. They’re all over the place.
How Can I Start a Slack Community?
Anyone can start a free Slack team, which will allow you to view the latest 10,000 messages in the archive. There are some tricks to automating sign-ups, but it can all be done manually if you prefer.
I know of people who stay in touch with close groups of friends via Slack as it’s easier than other chatting apps. Now, that’s cool!
When it comes to using Slack for communities, Pieter Levels deserves a little extra credit here for developing and sharing a method of auto-inviting people who sign up via Typeform. This method was originally used by almost all the Slack groups that followed #Nomads.
Nowadays many Slack teams use an auto-invite hack involving a script found on Github run on Heroku. That said, if it weren’t for Pieter’s original instructions, many of the thriving Slack communities wouldn’t exist. So, a huge hat tip there.
What Sort of Community Are You Looking For?
Are you looking for a particular sort of community? Do you just want an excuse to try Slack or do you just want to meet like-minded people? And do tell us in the comments if you run a Slack community yourself!